(Harley-Davidson press release issued March 8, 2011)
This week thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are hitting the open road in search of one destination – Daytona Beach, Fla.
Every year since 1937, the town plays host for more than 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts during Daytona Bike Week, which serves as the unofficial start of the motorcycle riding season. While Americans will see thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from all walks of life behind the handlebars this week on our highways and byways – they might be surprised to see a growing number of women in the saddle of their own motorcycles.
Women now account for 23 percent of all U.S. motorcyclists, as well as about 12 percent of new motorcycle sales for Harley-Davidson.
To celebrate women who have already accepted the calling of the open road, as well as to inspire even more women to participate in the sport, Harley-Davidson and its nationwide dealership network are staging a series of initiatives over the next several months including Garage Parties, Women Riders Month in May and the first-ever Biker Boot Camp for Women.
"We're very proud of the efforts we've made as a company to pave the way for even more women to turn their dreams of riding into reality," said Karen Davidson, great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson and creative director, general merchandise, Harley-Davidson. "But we know there are still thousands of women out there who dream of riding their own motorcycles, which is why we're committed to inspiring them to take the first step, as well as providing them with the necessary tools and support they need."
Women Take Daytona Daytona Bike Week activities take place through March 12. Activities for women include demo rides and interactive motorcycle displays at Daytona International Speedway, as well as a women's area featuring bike lift seminars and Jumpstart at Riverfront Park on Beach Street.
Women riders also hit the road for a good cause [on March 8] during the Women's MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) Ride. Karen Davidson led more than  female riders from Riverfront Park to Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Harley-Davidson to support those affected by neuromuscular disease.
Harley-Davidson Opens the Garage for Women Since 2005, local Harley-Davidson dealerships have hosted women-only Garage Parties, which provide a fun and engaging environment for women to learn about the sport of motorcycling. These free events are designed to be both fun and educational, covering topics such as a review of the basic motorcycle controls, how to customize a motorcycle's style and ergonomics, and how to gear up for a ride. Garage Party event attendees are organized into small groups, getting their first taste of the camaraderie that goes along with riding.